Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
January 26, 2004
We began our visit at 4pm and the museum closes at 5pm. This was a mistake; you need more than an hour here. The first exhibit we visited was the one on the Rothchild family and their contributions to the history of not only Frankfurt but also all of Germany. Their house is the only one of a Jewish family to survive in Frankfurt. The Allied bombing destroyed the whole area of the former Jewish ghetto. Mayor Carl Rothchild purchased this house when Jews were allowed to live outside the ghetto after 1811. Actually, the fact that the Jews in Frankfurt were confined to the Judengasse kept them from being driven out of the city, as they were in so many other German cities after 1462.
On the first floor (second for Americans), we begin to cover the history 1100-1800. We learn about the attitudes of Christians toward Jews and how this led to the formation of the ghetto. Columns describe Jewish rituals, burials, and the ritual baths. There is a copy of a Kurdish drinking cup--the original survived the war and in 1951 was given to the Israel Museum. There is a model of the Judengasse, and you will understand after looking at it why it took only 24 hours in 1711, 1721, and 1796 for it to be reduced to ashes. An area that should have only housed several hundred people housed several thousand.
On the second floor, we are introduced to the atrocities of the Nazi era, as well as displays of typical Jewish holidays, festivals, and celebrations. We see a Seder, a bar mitzvah, shivah, and a circumcision. There is a table set for the Shabbat. There are typical shops set up--shops belonging to a lawyer and a doctor, cases of menorahs, illuminated manuscripts, and other ceremonial items. At one point, you can climb up and look at a scroll of the Torah.
This is a fascinating museum, and I wish we had allowed more time to visit it. I also hope that they will consider making it easier for their English-speaking visitors. Entrance was 2.60 euros for adults.
From journal Frankfurt- I’ll Take Mainhattan
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
August 14, 2002
To buy a ticket, head for the desk that is straight ahead when you enter. I paid 1.30 euro with a student discount, but regular admission is 2.60 euro. I asked if they had information in English, and the woman who sold me my ticket simply handed me a massive, heavy, 4-ring binder. I also had to put my backpack in one of the lockers, but this was free.
So I went off with my notebook, pen and the self-defense binder under my arm. The binder actually held translations of almost all of the display panels. But on the ground floor there were no extensive panels to read. This level was devoted entirely to the work of Jewish artists. This ranged from some very early pieces to some very recent ones. I did not know enough to recognize any of the names, but I enjoyed looking. Many of the pieces were obviously based on religious themes, while others were not. Another room adjacent to this room held a display on the Rothschild’s, Frankfurt’s most famous Jewish family.
I moved further along and found the stairs, and I went all the way up to the second floor. This level is devoted to Jewish life and culture. I wandered around confused for a moment before realizing that all I needed to do was take a left from the stairs to find Panel 1, which dealt with written Jewish texts and had an illuminated manuscript on display. From there each room seemed to follow rather logically. I proceeded through the many rooms, learning about religious beliefs, practices, festivals, community, and more. In the room with Panel 8 was an entire wall of menorahs, which was quite interesting. They ranged from the simple and functional to the ornate and beautiful.
I moved down to the second floor, which was where the recent history of the Jews in Frankfurt and the rest of Germany is really told. The problem of ghettoes which plagued Jewish communities in Germany is demonstrated through documents, panels and artifacts. Their struggle for civil rights during the 1840s is detailed, followed by the German revolution which destroyed any gains. The panels tell the story of anti-Semitism through modern times in Germany. Finally there is a large section on WWII and its impact on Jews.
There is also a small exhibit on Medieval Frankfurt Jewish community on this floor. There are several written documents on display, and a wooden model of the city.
From journal Sampling Frankfurt in 3 Short Days